By Steve Sharpton, Parsons Training, Tucson, Arizona
October 18, 2015
I have to admit, I used to be a pretty big drinker. I wrote about this a couple years ago when I talked about expunging certain things in my life to try and live healthier. And boy, did I really need to get rid of some of the alcohol in my life. You see, I didn’t really have a taste for beer back when I first started, so I drank a lot of mixed drinks and would put alcohol in all my soda drinks. I often times would go half and half on the drink, for I wanted a good buzz and I also wanted to get a little hammered. Being a gigantic man that ate a lot of food made it tough to get drunk, and the one time I got messed up at a bar was the night I discovered I spent some 65 dollars in drinks and probably dropped close to a 100 in total drinks and tips and tab. Yup, I got a little loose with the tips when I started letting loose, and don’t worry, I didn’t drive home that particular night. I went to watch the Black Lips play a raucous show at The Flycatcher (then called Plush) and literally walked home. I remind you, I was a huge heavy guy and I walked about five miles in the middle of the night, so drunk that I had a neck ache the next day from all the head bobbing I was doing as I stumbled home. Fortunately no cops picked me up or I would have had to make the first ever call to my parents to fish me out of the drunk tank. Knowing my luck I would have been ticketed. There was another funny story about my old roommate’s parents as well that probably described how bad I was with the liquor. You see, I kept just about every bottle I drank, but only if it was a unique one. This led to a lot of experimentation and I probably could have become a bartender if I had put my eventual know-how to use. But alas, I preferred to drink the stuff rather than make exotic drinks. Anyway, my friend’s parents came for a visit and were appalled by the some 120+ empty bottles that were all over the house. Now let me remind you, they immediately thought my friend was a raging alcoholic, even though I was the one that was mostly drinking the stuff. Needless to say, I sort of horrified/impressed them the night we hosted the Superbowl and I somehow polished off most of a bottle of Bacardi Gold, a whole bunch of beers and about three people worth of food (you have to remember, the Superbowl could last up to five hours of drinking and eating). They stopped bothering my friend after that horrid display of spirits-based debauchery.
Now I wasn’t alcoholic per se, merely because I didn’t need liquor every day to function, but man oh man was I a binger. Oddly enough, my heavy drinking days kind of came to a stop one year during St. Patrick’s Day. It had been particularly humid and I had not turned on the cooler yet. Since I couldn’t sleep, I made it my duty to get the cooler on that night. But you see, I didn’t have a ladder and thus, figured my empty trash can might be a big help. Well, you know where this is leading. As I jumped off the can and tried getting on the roof, the can slipped out from under me and I lost my grip as the weight of my body pulled me down. I landed flat on my back, yet somehow scraped up my face. I ultimately got the cooler on that night after using my car as the ladder, but for some reason, the soreness and pain kind of translated to a strange night a couple days later. I couldn't drink anything without feeling really sick. Over the next couple months, I pretty much switched out liquor for beer, and ultimately recycled all of the bottles in the house (with the exception of a select few). Ever since I started working out, my alcohol habit has pretty much dipped into nothingness, for I can go months on end with out any alcohol. I mention all of this merely because of an interesting little survey that came out just yesterday in regards to alcohol. One thing I’m starting to love doing is punching holes in these type of click bait stories, for they seem to imply one thing but never really illustrate the full problem. One such story hit the newswire with a perfect bang…..America is becoming less productive due to alcohol. http://www.cbsnews.com/news/excessive-drinking-is-draining-americas-economy-cdc/
Truth be told, I could have told you that!! Anyway, between a five year period between 2006 and 2010, the cost of excessive drinking is starting to rise. With the inclusion of criminal proceedings, collisions and healthcare related costs, the US lost $249 billion in 2010, $179 billion of that due to workplace productivity. How would that equate you might ask? Well, aside for the supposed lack of workplace productivity due to being hung over, you still have to factor in injuries and complications from alcohol related problems like inured appendages or withdrawal (if someone is trying to give up the stuff). Now this study seemed rather fatalistic, especially since the numbers were taken during a time where the economy pretty much took a dump. Now I will admit, there was only one instance in my entire life where I showed up hung over to work, and that was when I worked at a movie theater at the time. Let’s just say, I got a little tipsy watching “The Matrix Reloaded,” and was so lit that I had to screen “Chicago” (which turned out to be pretty good) in order to sober up enough to get home. Needless to say the next morning, I was grateful the other protectionist named Frank was very helpful, for he let me run the half of the theater that didn’t require me to go into two separate projector booths (I was fearful I would throw up on the stairs or even fall down). Fortunately, I didn’t destroy any prints and the snack bar was stocked well enough where I wasn’t needed to get any supplies until later in the day when I was feeling better and less foggy. Yup, that was the only time I ever showed up to work like that. I doubt very many people do that anymore, merely because so many people are barely hanging onto their job, and with a young expendable generation following us, doing your job well is tough. But one thing I do see about this article is the fact alcohol is becoming bigger, most likely from the amount of stress people are feeling in this society. I remember the story of Maker’s Mark saying they would have to reduce their alcohol proof to keep up with the demand, only having their fans yell at them to not do it, saying they would deal with the lack of stock or a higher price. Maybe the correlation of a lulling Arizona economy is going hand in hand with the boom in craft breweries my state? You would think a state having water issues wouldn’t have so many respectable breweries, but it does. Heck, Tucson alone has some good ones like Dragoon (labeled the best in the state, which I agree), Borderlands, Sentinel Peak, 1055, Thunder Canyon, Barrio and Nimbus. Heck, this past year alone, seven new microbrews opened in town (and I have yet to try any of them!!!).
Now you know where I will be going with this. It’s pretty obvious. But let’s start with the first thing….alcohol and working out just really don’t mix. http://greatist.com/fitness/why-alcohol-and-exercise-dont-mix This page is a pretty good primer in regards to what happens when you try to maintain an active drinking lifestyle with an active workout lifestyle. It just ain’t going to happen. You see, alcohol is absorbed rather quickly in the body, and let’s not forget you are basically renting the stuff, not really keeping it in your system. Once you “break the seal” so to speak, you will start draining valuable fluids and salts from your body that you need to maintain proper fluid retention. Heck, I remember one instance where I had a few beers with a friend one, some very harsh IPAs, and the next day I was dead. I barely ran three miles at a time where I was killing six to seven regularly. I just didn’t have enough fluids left over in my body and my legs just felt super heavy. Now I remind you, I was nowhere near drunk or even tipsy, and this is what happened! Just imagine if I did get wasted the night before….I never would have run the three miles in the first place. Some other problems you might run into when incomes to alcohol is the fact it can’t be stored in the muscle, so it is stored in fat, which will make it tricky for you to maintain the balance of getting rid of that fat and maintaining a social life. It also inhibits oxygen flow, especially in the liver. But here is the biggest problem; it may actually inhibit muscle building. Alcohol is routinely called the anti-muscle supplement, for it not only can inhibit the growth of testosterone indoor body, it can also inhibit the use of human growth hormones that you need to gain muscle and strength. Now I cannot stress the whole testosterone thing enough, because with the rise of “Low T” clinics popping up around the country and supposed miracle pills promoting male sexual health (c’mon, let’s just call it for what it is, wannabe Viagra that doesn’t really work that you don’t have to go to your doctor to get, thus that convenience is placed on the depth of your bank account). Personally, ever since I have reduced my alcohol intake, my body continues to make huge strides in the inches department even if the weight is kind of stagnating. Take for example this old alien shirt I decided to try on again recently. The first time I fit into at and wore it at Parsons Training, it was pretty darn tight, but it fit. Now I look at it in the photo on the blog….a woman could easily wear this as a dress (a very cool and awesome woman at that!!). I found a picture of me wearing it from a couple years ago, and it has definitely gotten “bigger” within the last couple years. It’s not quite as tight around the stomach as it used to be, and it feels longer than ever!
Now I won’t get all self-righteous on you all, because I still like tapping back from booze from time to time. Last weekend I had my first beers in roughly four months, and they still tasted great! So it’s not like I am losing my taste for alcohol in the interim. But let’s look at it this way. If you want to be healthier, you got to cut back on those brews, no matter how many great craft breweries are opening in your town (which is making it so damn tough to not go out every weekend just to soak in the variety!). Heck, some exercise programs like PX90 discourage alcohol use completely!! But that is the delicate balance we all have to partake in. As for the first story I mentioned coming into this blog post, I never really have a problem with being hungover at my job. In fact, it would be kind of dangerous if that were to happen. Some days, I see plenty of people that look like they may have been out a little too late the previous night before, which is why I have been trying to get myself back on the weekday shift so I won’t be so heavily relied upon to be a superman during my shift. But until then, working on the weekends is a good way to maintain a cleaner and healthier lifestyle. But man, it does a number on your personal life!! Personally, using alcohol to relive stress is kind of a dumb thing in my book. Take it from a man that used that excuse for quite a long time. I will say one thing, exercise does a much better job, and it will ultimately help your clothes fit better if done correctly. Now if exercise was only as easy as drinking?
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Steve, a Parsons Training Client, went from 400 pounds to Running half-marathons, from lifting pizzas to lifting hundreds of pounds through training with us.